Over the years several mentors and friends made this research and writing possible. I was fortunate enough to work with two of the very best faculty members in the University of California, Berkeley, Department of Sociology, where I began studying American Security Bank as a dissertation project. Working with Michael Burawoy on this project was always a delight and a challenge-or perhaps I should say it was a challenge and a delight. I continually learned from his critical and constructive comments. As my dissertation adviser, his guidance of and enthusiasm for my research project were invaluable. His commitment to critical thinking and to his students stands as an exemplary academic model.
Arlie Hochschild supported every stage of my dissertation project and pushed me to rethink both preliminary conceptions of my research and the process of writing itself.
In an ongoing dissertation group, Linda Blum, Louise Jezierski, and Brian Powers provided absolutely vital reassurance and feedback about writing and doing research. I continue to benefit from their friendship.
Likewise Bob Freeland, Linda Fuller, Karen Hansen, Greg McLauchlan, and Jennifer Pierce continually lent their personal and intellectual support during and beyond the thesis-writing process. Robin Leidner, Fred Block, and Michael Useem kindly gave me valuable comments on the arguments and data in this manuscript.
Although this book will be published long after her untimely death, I would nevertheless like to thank Carol Hatch for the supportive role she played in my graduate studies. Politically and intellectually she was a mainstay for many graduate students and for the Department of Sociology at Berkeley. Without a doubt, she deserves at least a few grateful acknowledgments in the many books written by students and faculty from Berkeley.
My family was always unwavering in their assistance: Helen Smith, Diana Smith, Susan and Lewis Brockus, Brian McMahon, June and Mark McMahon, and Constance and David Claghorn strongly encouraged me throughout this project. While I was revising this manuscript, Bob Larchwood's antics saved me from many a tedious day.
Steve McMahon's intellectual, emotional, and moral encouragement helped me genuinely to appreciate the rewarding aspects of writing and to weather the discouraging aspects with the highest degree of integrity that one could expect. Many of the ideas of this book developed as a result of long, often heated discussions about its central claims. On various occasions he helped me see the forest through the trees, something especially difficult with the complex and mountainous data collected in field work. The process and product would have been very different without him.